A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

Windsor - Tuesday, 30 April 2019

From London to Windsor

semi-overcast 16 °C
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Harte and Garter Hotel - Room No 109

Slept in, had breakfast, packed our bags and phoned for an Uber to take us to Windsor at 11 am. Our driver was a lovely young Greek guy and we chatted for the hour and a quarter it took us to get to Windsor. Our room wasn't ready unti 2pm so we went for a walk around lovely old Windsor. It is Phli's first time here and he loves it.

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We had a beer at the Carpenters Arms and then we wandered down the street and found a Cornish Pastie shop! Is there no getting away from them?

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While we were walking around Windsor, a TV crew came along and interviewed us about Harry and Meghan's baby, whether we thought it was going to be a boy or a girl. A girl, I said. Maybe we will be on TV tonight.

This guy is all set up on the corner, hoping the baby will be born today as it's his 84th birthday.

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We receive our room keys and I ask for my invitation to the Royal Victorian Order Church Service and Reception being held at Windsor Castle on Friday, 3 May. "We don't have any mail for you", they said. "Yes you do because I received an email from Ivanka at the end of March saying that mine (and others) had arrived". Great confusion ensued with phone calls being made, Ivanka arriving to participate in the search, safes being searched - the whole works!

Meanwhile, Amanda O'Rourke had phoned me to say that she had phoned the Harte and Garter and they told her they didn't have her invitation either! Good grief. Here we go again. In 2011, the Clarence Hotel sent our invitations back to the Central Chancery, even though we asked them to hold them for us.

However, all's well that ends well, and after a little while, Ivanka had found ALL our invitations. Thank goodness.

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Now to the room. It is lovely. It is on the first floor, we have a lift AND a bath and a balcony overlooking Windsor Castle. The bathroom is HUGE - we could hold a party in there. The balcony needs some attention so we are not supposed to stand on it, but we can open the balcony doors for fresh air, and street noise!

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The room next to us has been taken over by the media. They are training their cameras on the gates of Windsor, waiting to see who comes and goes, re the new Royal baby.

We walked down to an Italian restaurant for a quick snack so we could come back to our room and watch the semi finals of the World Snooker Championships as there is an Australian who is doing quite well. In fact he was leading when we went to dinner.

We had just settled into a restaurant when two women arrived with seven very noisy boys! The waiter moved us to a different part of the restaurant but we really didn't mind. We had been reading the menu in the restaurant earlier this afternoon and the owner came out and gave us a 25 per cent off voucher, so we were definitely coming back. The pizza was quite nice.

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All the tourists and baby watchers have now gone home and the street below us and the front gates of Windsor Castle are now deserted. I guess it will be full on tomorrow and every day until the baby Sussex is born.

Posted by gaddingabout 15:30 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Monday, 29 April 2019

Last day in London

semi-overcast 16 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

As I mentioned yesterday, Phil has discovered WhatsApp and encouraged his mate in Australia to install it and use it. Well he did, didn't he - at 3.30 am London time!!! (Which was a surprise that they would make such a mistake because they are world travellers and know all about time differences).

It is a bit overcast today and a bit cool, with a max of 16 degrees. We will be out and about today for our last day in London.

Receiving phone calls and messages as the other Aussies start arriving in the UK for the Royal Victorian Order Service this coming Friday.

We caught an Uber taxi into the London Eye. We had the most miserable Bulgarian Turk that I have ever met. He was morose and negative and nothing made him happy. Up until now, all our Uber drivers have been happy and talkative - not this one!

There are quite a few people around but the queues are moving quickly. We bought a ticket for the Eye River Cruise and the London Eye. The cruise was time specific so we lined up and went on the 40 minute cruise along the Thames first. It gives you a different perspective to view the lovely buildings from the river. And in one of the photos, if you look very hard, you will see the only piece of London beach!

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Here is the beach photo and these red pylons once belonged to a railway bridge that has since been pulled down, but when they tried to demolish the pylons, they discovered they were just too well built and would have to use dynamite to get rid of them and that option was too dangerous for the other bridges nearby, so they decided to leave them.

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After the river cruise, we lined up for our ride on The London Eye. The queue wasn't very long either and in no time we were stepping into the capsule and off we went. The views from up here are lovely.

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We decided to walk to the corner and catch an Uber back home and then we spied the "find" of the century - Gail's Bakery. It is light, modern and welcoming and we took ages gazing at all the delicious food, trying to decide what to order. Finally, we decided on two coffees, a sausage roll, a cheese stick and a berry and custard brioche. Oh wow! It was simply delicious. If I lived in this area, it would be my "go to place", for sure.

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My 28 degree card has had about three rejections (last night and today), so we came home and checked on our statements. Seems my credit is sailing a bit close to the wind, so we paid our account, so now hopefully everything will be okay until we reach home in a week's time.

Spending this evening packing, as we are checking out tomorrow and heading for Windsor.

Posted by gaddingabout 12:09 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Sunday, 28 April 2019

semi-overcast 14 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

Late breakfast at Freddies again this morning. It is semi overcast and the wind has a bite to it. Freddies is quite small so there is always some searching for a table. This morning there was a lot of chaos and they ran out of fruit and mugs for tea and coffee. But all was replenished eventually.

Phil has discovered WhatsApp and has started phoning people at home! Watch out.

We caught a taxi to the theatre to pick up the tickets for The Lion King and with an hour to kill, we popped into a French cafe and had coffee and carrot cake.

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We have great seats again - in the Royal Circle - second row - in the middle. And we are sitting next to an Australian girl from Sydney. They're everywhere. The theatre is old and dark but quite ornate. In a couple of the boxes, there are bongo drums and drummers set up, waiting for the show to begin.

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The sets in the show were stunning. Pity photos aren't allowed. Sometimes the set was so busy, you just didn't know where to look. All our shows in London are done now and the verdict is:

In order of our most favourite - Tina Turner the Musical and Les Miserables are in a tie for first; Aladdin a very close second, followed by The Lion King and last of all, All Our Sons. We have had a great time in the West End, attending all these fantastic shows. Phil dozes during the first half but stays awake for the second half. I think I should only have to pay half price for his tickets!

After the show, we wandered along Drury Lane looking for somewhere to have dinner. We stumbled across the most unique restaurant in Drury Lane called Sarastro. It was gorgeous. There was stuff everywhere - hanging from the ceiling and instead of tables and chairs, there were boxes and booths . It was all very romantic. The table cloths were crushed velvet and a lot of the memorabilia came from shows that had been performed in the Drury Lane / West End area. Fantastic place.

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The restaurant is named after a character in Mozart's Magic Flute and first opened its doors in 1996. It was once a public house. The owner was Richard Niazi who died in 2008. His funeral was "the show he wanted after the show he had lived" with gypsy musicians playing samba music in the street as his cortege was led down Drury Lane. He was laid to rest in Nicosia, Cyprus. The restaurant was left to his daughter Sibel and her uncle Murad. A very unique place and one dinner we will remember for a long time.

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While we were waiting for our taxi, these girls came along, all set for a big night. The girl second from the right had run in the London Marathon this morning and did it in three hours. She looked great - not like she had run in a marathon at all, and now they were going to celebrate.

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The wind has dropped and it's not quite as cold, so hopefully we are heading for the high teens tomorrow - our last day in London.

Posted by gaddingabout 11:22 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Saturday, 27 April 2019

storm 12 °C
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Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

Today is our worst day weatherwise, except for that first Monday in Cornwall. It is bleak, windy and trying to rain and only getting to a max of 12 degrees (if it gets there). Lucky we are spending the afternoon indoors at Aladdin.

We wandered over to the Great Hall at Goodenough College for breakfast and there was no one there. The room is all set up for a function - rows of chairs everywhere.

Mmmmm, back to the Goodenough Hotel and down to their breakfast room - no one there either and no one around. Went to reception only to be reminded that all breakfasts are served at the college on the weekend and if there is something on in the Great Hall, then breakfast is served in Freddie's Bar. Right! Back to the Goodenough College and into Freddie's Bar. Success! Breakfast at last!

We phoned for an Uber Pool car which means we are happy to share and we waited and waited in the freezing cold wind. The car came and for some reason the trip was cancelled. We phoned another one and it kept going in a different direction from us and waiting time went from 8 to 12 minutes. We are freezing in this wind. Finally we cancelled that trip which cost us 4 pounds and phoned an Uber Exec, which means it was just for us. What a kerfuffle. We are freezing.

We arrived at the theatre at about 12 noon and picked up our tickets for Aladdin. We decided to spend some time in a pub, to have a drink and a nibble to kill some time. On the way to the loo, I spotted a guy from Canberra who used to be a member of the Sing Australia Choir with me. He is in England with the Rugby Choir and is going to Cornwall in a couple of days to compete in a choir competition for the next week, singing all over Cornwall. Small world again!

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We went into the theatre and have great seats again - six rows back and in the centre of the row with an aisle right in front of us. Phil is very happy as he can stretch out his legs. The show was great - the music was great - the sets were great - the genie was great - in fact, the whole production was tremendous. I think Phil is enjoying his introduction to musical theatre.

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After the show, along with the rest of London, we tried to find a restaurant for dinner before we went home. We went into Limoncella Restaurant but there was no room in there but the owner directed us to his other restaurant, Melanie, just across the road. It was a bit bigger, with the same menu and room inside.

We had a jug of sangria (which was a particularly nice one and not too alcoholic) and Phil had a pizza and I had ravioli. Very nice.

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Caught an Uber home and are now settling in for the night, watching the world championship of snooker.

The weather is improving. There is blue sky and the wind has dropped.

Posted by gaddingabout 10:56 Archived in England Comments (0)

London - Friday, 26 April 2019

semi-overcast 14 °C
View To London, To London, To Visit The Queen on gaddingabout's travel map.

Goodenough Hotel - Room 491

Slept in this morning because the alarm didn't go off because my tablet is not charging, so I turned it off overnight.

It is quite cool with a bit of a breeze blowing.

After breakfast we decided to walk down to the Samsung shop to have them check my tablet to see what is going on with the charging. It took about half an hour to get there and the shop was very modern and new with staff everywhere. We had an initial consultation about our problem, then we were passed to a guy who tried to work it out for us, then we were allocated one more person, who would decide whether or not we needed to give my tablet to a technician. The issue is that it is not charging AND the tablet and battery are about five years old, so I am wondering if I need a new battery.

He checked my cable and determined that it was not working. Well, that was a surprise because it is only five months old! I bought a new cable and am happy to try this until I get home and then look at perhaps buying a new tablet. We actually looked at the latest tablets and the Tab 5 seems the way to go, but it is interesting that different tablets are released in different countries, depending on what the Samsung market survey says.

We called in the Argyll Arms for lunch and then strolled around busy Oxford Street and Soho Square. I had a pint of cider that was included in my lunch deal. Wow! I could hardly walk a straight line after that!

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Our legs are getting tired, so we called a cab and headed for our hotel.

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

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